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Giants' ends not meeting expectations

The SportsXchange

Through four games, the Giants defense is ranked 22nd overall in the league and, perhaps even more alarmingly for a group that was supposed to be fielding a solid pass rush, 19th against the pass.

Even more surprisingly for the Giants is the fact that its starting defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, have combined for just 1.5 sacks through the first four games.

As a result of their limited production as well as the team's 2-2 record, both Tuck and Pierre-Paul have said they're not having as much fun this year as they have had in the past.

"I can be a better player than I am now. I'm not used to playing like this," said Pierre-Paul. "I can be a much better player. I can't wait for someone to turn it on so I can turn it on. I just have to go out there and do what I do best which is play good hard football.

"I feel like I haven't been having fun. I feel like I'm kind of stressed a little bit, but I made an oath to myself to where I'm just going to go out there and have fun like I did last year. Run around like I was a kid."

Tuck cited the frustrations of losing and concerns about the state of the banged up Giants defensive secondary as the reasons for his sour disposition.

"We lost two safeties back there that we depend on back there in the defense," he said, adding that the change in personnel has altered some of what they were able to do as a defense.

"Blitzing, man-to-man coverage--things like that," he said, noting that the front four can't take as many risks. "You can't be as aggressive as you'd like to be."

But perhaps even more frustrating for Tuck and Pierre-Paul, as well as the rest of the Giants defense is that they have been hard pressed to find a common theme as to what opponents have done to stifle their pass rush.

"People are doing some different things in trying to protect against us and the way they're trying to get the ball out quick," said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.

"We can go over something this week, but the next week, it's totally different," added Pierre-Paul. We just have to come out there and adjust to it. We just have to be patient and get after them."

They also will have to be patient with their younger teammates who might be called upon to help out in the defensive secondary if the injuries to Antrel Rolle (knee), Kenny Phillips (knee), and Corey Webster (hand/hamstring), are long-term affairs.

"We have to allow the other guys the opportunity to step up and play," said Tuck. "Hopefully we can get more guys healthy going into the game, and we'll see what happens."
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